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Knight says it's time to shine

Ryan Smith  March 27, 2017 3:48 PM

Riley Knight Post-Match: R1 Riley Knight speaks to AFC Media post-match after a great Round 1 win.
AFL 2017 Round 01 - Photographers Choice

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: Riley Knight of the Crows celebrates a goal during the 2017 AFL round 01 match between the Adelaide Crows and the GWS Giants at Adelaide Oval on March 26, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

They (younger players) know the development isn’t going to come from the senior players

Adelaide’s emerging players will be key to the Club’s success this year, says forward Riley Knight.

Playing his first AFL game since Round Three last year, Knight was one of several young Crows who impressed against Greater Western Sydney on Sunday. The hard-running forward finished with two goals from 18 disposals.

Rory Laird (40) and Wayne Milera Junior (23) recorded career-best possession tallies, while Rory Atkins and Charlie Cameron combined for five goals in the 56-point win over GWS.

Recruits Curtly Hampton and Troy Menzel also showed glimpses in their first games for the Club.

Knight, who was a late inclusion for injured captain Taylor Walker, said the depth in the squad was imperative.

“It’s awesome to see we’ve got multiple options ... and if someone goes down injured we’ve got other options to take their place,” Knight said.

“They (younger players) know the development isn’t going to come from the senior players, it’s going to come from that middle-age bracket group.

“They’ve really driven that on the training track during the pre-season and obviously it’s showing in games (now).”

Adelaide trailed by 14 points at quarter time, but piled on 15 goals to Greater Western Sydney's eight in the second half to secure a comfortable win.

Knight said the Crows remained in a positive mindset despite slipping behind on the scoreboard early.

“We knew the pressure around the ball was really good, we had an equal amount of possessions as they did at about quarter time,” Knight said.

“We were pretty confident with how we were moving the ball, just a few times our defence broke down and we didn’t press the ground enough and they got through us a couple of times.”

“We tidied that up and from the second quarter onwards we were able to keep the ball in our half and get repeat entries and the rest took care of itself.”

After a breakout 2015 season, Knight has endured a tough run with injuries over the past 12 months.

He was thrilled to be involved in the Round One win, which capped off a big weekend for the Club.

“It’s been frustrating obviously there’s been a few hurdles to overcome both physically and mentally,” Knight said.

“It was really good to get back today and get some of that negativity and self-doubt off my shoulders and just play my role in the team and obviously come away with a win.

“It’s been a pretty good weekend for the Crows, obviously the girls won the GF and then to have a big win like that today (Sunday), we couldn’t ask for much more to start the season.”